How To Make Your Business Run Without You: The Magic of Automation
“Is that the time already?” you may exclaim, as you glance at your watch and realise 5pm is rapidly approaching and your to-do list only seems to be getting longer.
All businesses require repeated, daily tasks, and doing the same thing time and time again slows down your business. The problem is, these repeated tasks still must be completed, even when more time sensitive tasks arise, often leaving business owners stressed, time poor, and wishing for more hours in the day.
You know that scene in the Disney film Beauty and the Beast, where the various appliances and furniture host an extravagant feast for Belle, inviting her to be their guest? An entire delegation of magical, sentient, household objects completed what would have taken one person hours to achieve in the space of one musical number.
Automation is the closest thing your work can get to that magic. It enables your business to run many processes without you, doing so efficiently and effectively, and giving you time to focus on other tasks. And unlike the aforementioned movie, there’s no cursed rose or extra grooming required.
The benefits of automation
Automation can be particularly useful for businesses operating with limited resources.
For example, if you need to order something, perhaps a supply of brochures or printed materials, you could save yourself the time and effort of writing all the necessary information out by utilising a form-filling software. Such programs automatically complete forms for you using your saved data. With the click of a button, every detail about your business can be entered correctly. Even for the fastest typer, this is a huge time saving step.
It may seem like such a small step, but even the smallest tasks add up, and it’s recognising where these changes can be made that will keep your business running efficiently with minimal staffing, and strip back that to-do list in no time.
Automate the boring stuff
Hands up who really loves completing administrative tasks!
I highly doubt anyone’s fingers have left their keyboards.
Organisations spend countless hours on repetitive, administrative tasks, such as processing payments and completing paperwork. And though these processes are essential to any successful business, it is simply not necessary for a staff member to spend hours manually doing so.
An affordable and easy option is to implement invoicing software. Such software can create and distribute quotes to a customer base, and automatically process payments for staff and suppliers efficiently and on-time. In fact, invoicing software solutions are proven to reduce payment workloads by 80%.
The best ways to use automation in your business
There are a multitude of ways you can utilise automation in your business, whatever that is, but choice can be a daunting thing. It can be difficult to know where to start and how best to navigate the integration of automation into your company.
These are four key suggestions to get you started.
- Email marketing
One of the most useful automations for every business to implement is email marketing. The effort required to individually write and tailor all promotional emails simply outweighs potential benefits.Using automation allows you to map out ideal email flows for your new customers to introduce them to your business, and engage them. It also allows you to develop additional effective marketing campaigns for your clients and customer base, keeping them informed on updates in your business, such as new products or innovations. Perhaps best of all, such software will also provide you with analytics and personalised data to help you better tailor your email marketing to suit your audience.
- Personal emails
Sending polite, helpful and informed emails takes the time and effort, but does not always mean results for your business. A simple way to avoid this is to use an email software to create templates for your emails. Then, create a table of contents so you can easily find the template you require. When you need to send an email, simply search your database for the most appropriate template, and spend time personalising it accordingly.Although it will take a little time to set up this database, once it’s created, your emails will be extremely easy to write. Rather than typing ‘I hope this email finds you well’ thirty times a day, you can put your time into adding value to the email and really assisting your clients.
- Project management
Though many people are still a slave to the good ol’ fashioned pen and paper to-do list, technological automation can be incredibly useful for effective project management – both individually and for teams. Whether you have a huge workload, are constantly running late with different tasks around your business, or need to better navigate your partnerships within the company, adopting the use of a time management software – such as Click Up – can help you keep on top of your tasks and to-do lists.
- Cash flow forecasting
Most businesses still use Excel spreadsheets to plan and forecast their cash flow. And though this is a fairly simple means to an end, there are ways around it. Not everyone loves an Excel sheet, afterall. Remove the need to manually work out formulas, enter data and crunch the numbers by utilising cash flow forecast software. These programs will automatically generate this data for you.
As a business owner it can be easy to feel that you are never really putting yourself or your business first. Competing priorities will affect your business and yourself in equal parts. Therefore, as much as it can feel like you’re low on time, it’s important to set some aside to identify the areas where your business is slowing you down.
Once you’ve got a grasp on this, work towards utilising automation in a few key practices within your business – you will be surprised how simple changes can have such substantial results.
When it comes to your business, your time is your money. Yet time is still somehow so much more valuable – it is, after all, truly finite. Why not save it where you can?
Greenfish Marketing has the right expertise to assist you with your automation strategies. Book a strategy call with a specialist today.